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This service-learning program is designed for both undergraduate and graduate students who want an international experience that focuses on delivering educational and social services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in Ireland.

We accept students from a range of disciplines, all of whom have an interest in social, educational, vocational, recreational, and/or health services for persons with developmental disabilities. Prior direct contact experience with individuals with developmental disabilities is required (with adolescents and/or adults is preferred). Both service hours and completion of 6 hours coursework will be required.

Note that only 16 students are accepted to this program each year. Due to the high number of applicants, we encourage you to apply as early as possible in the fall prior to the next summer trip.

You will participate in several special events connected with the COPE Foundation and will have the opportunity to join in on some client and family-oriented social events. You will accumulate 130 contact hours with clients. The service component is arranged in cooperation with the COPE Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive services to over 1,600 children and adults with special needs, and their families, through its vocational education, sheltered employment, early intervention education, residential facilities, information dissemination, and recreation/leisure programs at over 60 locations throughout Cork city and county. The COPE Foundation also provides support to three schools serving children with special needs in Cork city.

Apply to this program

Deadline to apply: January 15

Start an application

Estimated Cost Breakdown

  • Program fee: $2,880
  • Tuition (approximate): $2,000
  • Airfare (approximate): $1,200
  • Personal expenses (food, excursions): $1,800
  • **Estimated Total**: **$7,880**

Academic credit

6 credits

Experience the Culture

The study abroad program is designed as a four days/week program to allow you the opportunity to travel while in Ireland. Ireland has a rich history and culture, and as part of the trip, we will plan optional cultural activities during the six-week period.

Activities may include a theatrical performance, traditional Irish dance and music festivals, sporting event (hurling, Gaelic football), a city tour, or visit to a local museum. Optional weekend day trips to villages in and around Cork city (Kinsale, Cobh, Skibbereen, Bearra Pennisula, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, etc.) can be scheduled. You can also plan weekend excursions at your own expense to the other British Isles or continental Europe.

Cities and Sights

  • Cork, Ireland
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Killarney, Ireland
  • Galway, Ireland


  • Kathy Boyle-Gast
  • David Gast

Travel resources

Resources for this program

If there are no longer available spaces in our Ireland trip, you may contact Carlow University about another summer program involving disabilities (they will extend the application deadline if you contact them and express an interest). In addition, please consider the UGA Scotland program.

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